Fact Check: Social media claims the idols of Lord Ram, Sita and Laxman were sent from Ayodhya to Karnataka :- After the much-awaited Supreme Court verdict on the Ayodhya land dispute, social media has been flooded with two photographs showing idols of Lord Ram, Lakshman, and Sita.
Social media claims the idols of Lord Ram
According to the claims, these are the very idols that were shifted from Ayodhya for a safer place down south before Mughal emperor Babur desecrated the Ram Janmabhoomi.
The claim further says that When Babur marched to Ayodhya, the caretaker of the temple Pandit Shyamanand Maharaj fled Ayodhya along with the idols and handed them over to Swami Eknath Maharaj of Paithan, Maharashtra. Later these idols were handed over to the Guru of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Swami Samarth Ramdas. When Swami Samarth was on a tour of South India, he placed those idols on the banks of the holy Sangam of rivers Tunga and Bhadra forming Tungabhadra in a small town called Harihar, Karnataka.
The idols are worshipped since then by the Gurus of Narayan Ashram in Harihar and now, the idols will be returned to Lord Ram’s birthplace at Ayodhya.
According to the India Today Anti Fake News War Room (AFWA), both pictures are indeed from Sri Sadguru Samartha Narayana Maharaj Ashram in Harihar city of Karnataka’s Davanagere district. However, there is no credible evidence to establish the authenticity of the claim that these idols were brought from Ayodhya at the time of Mughal emperor Babur.
Sita and Laxman were sent from Ayodhya to Karnataka
The claim, along with the photos, is circulating on WhatsApp. Some have also shared it on Facebook and Twitter.
The investigation revealed that both the images were found in a photo gallery of the Kannada Times. According to the “Kannada Times”, these images are from Sri Sadguru Samartha Narayana Maharaj Ashram in Harihar and clicked by Chinmaya.M.Rao.
The first photo shows the idols of Lord Ram, Lakshman and Sita made up of metal. Meanwhile, a member of the ashram’s working committee, Purushottam Gupta said, “These idols are moved out in the ashram’s hall area for public offerings and pujas during festivities. Most likely, they are not more than 70-80 years old. The claim that they had been brought from Ayodhya centuries ago is not right.”
Satyendra Das, a court-authorized priest at Ayodhya’s Ram temple also denied the story and said that the Ram Janmabhoomi temple is dedicated to “Ram Lalla”, i.e. Ram as a child. Therefore, one would find idols of Lord Ram, Lakshman, Bharat and Shatrughan in the makeshift tent at the disputed site, but no idol of his wife Sita. He argued that since the viral photo also has an idol of Sita, hence it is unlikely to be from Ayodhya.
On the other hand, the second photo shows the black stone idols of Lord Ram, Lakshman, and Sita. Regarding this, Purushottam Gupta said, “After the Ayodhya verdict, some locals started believing that these idols were brought from Ayodhya. However, there is no evidence to that effect. These idols date further back and are placed in the ashram’s sanctum sanctorum.”
Davanagere district magistrate Mahantesh Belagi said that looking at the renewed interest of people in the stone idols and he now plans to get them examined by Archaeological Survey of India experts and historians.
Regarding the stone idols, Ayodhya priest Satyendra Das said, “Though they look quite old it is difficult to say that these idols were taken to Harihar from Ram Janambhoomi.”
Hence the conclusion is that the debate over Ayodhya’s original idols is regarding the stone ones, but with both sets of idols from the same ashram, some people are also sharing the metal idols with the viral claim that they were brought to safety just before Babur demolished Ram Janambhoomi.
It is also to be noted that the viral post started circulating only after the Supreme Court’s verdict on the Ayodhya land. However, until now, there is not any proof which ascertains that the idols were brought from Ayodhya hundreds of years ago. Hence, it is difficult to dismiss the claim either until there is an official report by ASI or any archaeological expert on this matter.